ST 2525 – Hints – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 2525 – Hints

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 2525 – Hints

Hints and tips by Big Dave

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Don’t forget that you can give your assessment of the puzzle. Five stars if you thought it was great, one if you hated it, four, three or two if it was somewhere in between.

As is usual for the weekend prize crosswords, I will select a few of the better clues and provide hints for them.

Peter Biddlecombe’s full review of this puzzle will be published at 12.00 on Friday, 5th March.


1a    Oversensitive and extremely testy, bearing pained expression (6)
To get this word meaning oversensitive put the outside letters (extremely) of testy around (bearing) a pained expression (hit your thumb with a hammer and you might well say this, among other things!)

23a    Declaration of my friendship for Muslim territory (7)
If you split this territory which is under the jurisdiction of a Muslim leader as (1’1,1,4) it could be a declaration of my friendship

29a    Relatively poor negotiator (6)
A word meaning more poor, in the sense of having even less money than someone who has none, is also a negotiator of, say, insurance policies


1d    Characters on pitch always playing similar roles (8)
Put some characters used in printing on a word meaning to pitch, as in to throw, and you get a word that describes an actor who is always playing similar roles – the synonym for print characters collectively that is used here is a singular noun, although it can’t really be described as a collective noun

22d    Situation, in brief, around university in turmoil (6)
A situation could be described as circumstances and Chambers gives a five-letter shortened form of this which can then be placed around U(niversity) to get a word meaning a turmoil – particularly tricky when the wordplay contains a little-known short form of a synonym and the answer is one of the less obvious meanings of the answer; thank heavens for checking letters!

24d    A carriage overturned to one side (5)
Start with A and then add the kind of carriage pulled by a pony, but reversed, and you get a word meaning to one side or separated – down clues have so many more constructs available to them, like overturned being used here as a reversal indicator
If you need further help then please ask and I will see what I can do.

Please don’t put whole or partial answers in your comment, else they may be censored!

20 comments on “ST 2525 – Hints

  1. I enjoyed my morning outing with Virgilius today. 22d was the last to go in with the checking letters being required to guess the wordplay! Favourite clue was 4a.

  2. It looked like I would really struggle with this one, but completed the rh bottom corner, then the rh top quite quickly. Began to struggle again with the lh side, but managed it all bar 22d and 23a, which I finally got with the hints.

  3. Ambled happily through most of this, and then got horribly stuck on 23a and 22d (as I suspect did many others). A visit to Chambers and a aha moment and the crossword was finally finished. Most enjoyable as always.

  4. Enjoyed this one but couldn’t get it downloaded until well after lunchtime.
    So tried your NTSPP 003. The blog is proving a wonderful tutorial. I was thinking of trying something more demanding at the weekend and this could well be the next step.
    Keep it going!

  5. Hi,
    Am beginning to get somewhere with the Sat puzzles, but the Sun are still v tricky. Thanks for the hints!

  6. Cornwall was the tricky part and I got totally stuck on 22d & 23a . Have never heard of 23a Thought 18a & 19d were tricky though church goers nmight have regarded the later as a shoe in.

  7. No supplements delivered this morning, picked them up on my way out to meet daughters for lunch. Only just looking at it now … and not expecting to finish it either. It looks a bit beyond my abilities!

    1. Ooh, I’ve surprised myself. With a lot of help and (ok, I confess!) a little ‘research’, I’ve got five unsolved: 18/28a and 3/19/22d. Not really asking for further hints, just don’t understand them and happy to wait for Thursday’s explanation.

    2. Well, I really HAVE surprised myself, I finished it. That’s ‘I’ as in me, my partner, the hints and some ‘research’.

      3d was last to go, with 18a just before. Don’t know why 18a was so difficult; computing (I was a programmer) is full of TLA’s, three-letter-*******s …

  8. Tricky but enjoyable. Finished with a little help from Chambers. I liked 13a for the sort of backward anagram. Also liked 3d and 4a. Never heard of 23a but got it with your clue – Thanks! Only one left is 18a and I have no idea despite having all checking letters. A clue would be much appreciated! :-)

    1. Claire
      18a. terms initially assembled in short document by a friend (8)
      The definition is terms initially assembled, i.e. words made up from the initial letters of other words. Put A and a slang term for close friend in front of an abbreviation for a manuscript (short document).

      1. Thanks Gazza! I should have got that one – we’re always getting the kids at school to make up acrostic poems!!

  9. 22d Why would the setter use a long way round to get an answer which was part of the full length word? ie you get the word circumstances, shorten it, add ‘u’ to get the answer, which could be found as part of the original word anyway. I can’t remember seeing anything quite like this before.

    1. Not sure but maybe because the shortened form (without the u) is a relatively well known short form; and how otherwise would he indicate which letters to take out of the whole word? Does that make any sense? :-/ I’m sure somebody could explain it better than me!

  10. Started this after watching the League Cup match at Wembley – my late wife would have been very pleased at the result : she was a Lancashire lass and supporter of Man.U – I support Leeds & Glasgow Rangers. I used to kid people that our marriage was a continuation of the Wars of the Roses – a fairy story!!!
    Good puzzle with many good clues. I liked 4a, 12a, 18a, 20a & 23a. 1d, 16d, 19d & 22d.
    Must now print out the medal table at Vancouver.

  11. Ditto the Above. 22d last to go in with a visit to Chambers for confirmation.
    23a was not known but clear from wordplay.
    A very good Sunday challenge. Nice one Virgilius.

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